Expressing concern over the acute shortage of manpower in the critical area of air navigation services (ANS), Airports Authority Officers Association has shot off a letter to aviation minister Ajit Singh.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) board meeting will be held in New Delhi tomorrow.
"The association is intending to get your directives to the chairman for taking up shortage of manpower in ANS as top priority in the board meet and it should not be diluted in the wake of austerity measures," the association said.
Even the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) lays importance on air navigation planning of individual states and is establishing and updating the individual air navigation plans every three years, the letter said.
"However, India has not taken stock of air navigation services, which comprise air traffic management (ATM), and communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS), manpower for the past 10 years. The manpower issue seems negligible on the part of the ministry to some extent," it said.
While the letter did not quantify the shortage, sources say the CNS wing alone has around 40 per cent shortage.
"At present our strength is around 2,400 but we require another 1,500 officers in CNS wing for manning the additional facilities which have come up over the years," sources said.
Alleging that while no additional manpower has been added up in the wing, new facilities like ASMGCS (advanced surface movement guidance and control systems), which is used for tracking the ground movement of vehicles, have been installed and are functioning in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Similarly, the air traffic services data link network (ATSDLN), which is used for datalink between aircraft and ground for delivery clearance of ground aircraft as well as providing Met data for the aircraft automatically, has been installed in all six metros.
"Besides, major stations like Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and also another 36 airports are installed with automation systems which facilitate the integration of radar and flight data for smooth functioning of air traffic controllers. Moreover many airports have been upgraded with ILS systems," sources said.
Smooth operations of all these facilities require additional manpower but unfortunately that has not happened, sources said, adding, "This is definitely going to affect the aviation safety standards."
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